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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Should Our State Sales Tax Be 2% or 6%?

In the early 1950's, SC Governor James F Byrnes asked the people of South Carolina to vote in a 3% sales tax for the purpose of building "separate but equal" school buildings. He realized that the State government was responsible for the building of schools under Article 11 Section 3 of South Carolina Constitution (Here). The people voted for the sales tax and it was put into the tax structure of the State of South Carolina.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court opined in the case Brown vs The Board Of Education (here) that it was unconstitutional to build "separate but equal" schools.

Article XI SECTION III :System of free public schools
The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State and shall establish, organize and support such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable.
So, by order of the Supreme Court, the PURPOSE of the tax was nullified. However, the money flowed in, and the State Of South Carolina quit building schools, and has for decades, shoveled the expense off to the counties, all the while STILL collecting this tax. The lack of State oversight and budget control has allowed school boards to raise taxes to levels that prohibit residential and business growth in the State in many areas.

At this point, Pickens County residents owe over $400 million dollars on school buildings and it will cost nearly $800 billion to pay the debt off.

Read the SC State Constitution shown above again … "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools …"

Where do you read that it is the job of a COUNTY to provide for the maintenance and upkeep of our schools? As this $400 million in schools ages - all at once - and the older schools get older - where should the money to maintain them and fix them come from? The SC State Constitution says it should come from the State Of South Carolina - NOT Pickens County. Then why did our school board just vote over $13 million in maintenance costs for our schools? (see here page 7)

The failure of the legislature has been hidden in a myriad of statutory laws with catchy names like "The Education Finance Act". (see here) Note that a statutory law cannot trump the Constitution, but just like we've learned from Obama using unconstitutional power to change a law with executive order - as long as the people won't DEMAND a challenge - our country, our county, and our towns across America will continue to be pillaged.

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